Dog Training & Behaviour Blog

A Better Life?

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A street dog, lived its life since a puppy with its mother learning to avoid humans, and scavenging for food to survive. It's an environment and world the dog knows well and fully understands. A Good Samaritan comes along, sees what they perceive as a poor unfortunate dog fighting to survive on the streets, living a traumatic life avoiding humans... The Good Samaritan captures the dog and takes the dog home feeling sorry for the poor animal, and wanting to give it a "better" life. Question: Who decides what is a "better" life? The subjective emotions of the good Samaritan feeling sorry

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The Insecure Anxious Dog That Was Mothered Too Much

A Facebook post from 2018 that I wrote about dogs that are overly dependent and obsessed with their owner came up on my news feed. I decided to re-post it here with some additional information.  I find one of the biggest issues I come across here in Vietnam (but not only Vietnam), is dog owners mothering their dogs way too much, instilling overly obsessive and dependent behaviour. This is not healthy for any type of relationship, even between humans.  My 2018 Facebook post (edited) Social animals in the wild will in most cases display aggression if another animal is becoming to

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Without Discipline You Can Only Have Chaos

Dog aren't born into this world for us to just shower them with love and affection, at the expense of discipline. Dogs, like any social animal, require guidance, structure, rules and boundaries. Without these your dog can only ever be in a state of psychological confusion (chaos). Whenever we offer a dog any interaction that makes the dog feel good, we are reinforcing a behaviour. Sadly, in many instances, dog owners are unintentionally reinforcing behaviours and emotional states that are not healthy for the dog, such as fear, hyper-arousal, overly anxious states; and mainly because humans can tend to be more

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My Dog Wants To Socialise, So Why Does He Become Aggressive?

I had a discussion with a dog owner last week. His dog will unexpectedly display unprovoked aggression towards dogs and people, if he is allowed to approach them.  Client: "He looks like he wants to go and be friendly with the dog and will go up behind it and sniff it, but as soon as the dog turns and looks at him, he becomes aggressive, so we have to take him away". He will also walk up to people and sniff them like he wants to meet them, he looks friendly, and yet if the person then tries to look directly

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Do You Understand Your Dog, Or Are You Only Expecting Your Dog To Understand You?

Too often we bring a new puppy or dog into the home and just expect it to understand us and adapt to the way we live. Unfortunately, life for a dog within a human family is not quite that simple. This is why we come across so many dogs with psychological issues such as anxiety, insecurity, irrational fears. Or issues such as hyper-arousal or overly stimulated states that the dog has no control over. Or behavioural issues such as aggression that the dog doesn't understand is an issue, for which the dog then gets the blame for. If our reason for

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Are Some Rescues Being Responsible, Or Overly Emotional To The Detriment Of The Dog & Prospective Owners?

Overall, dog rescues do an incredible job helping save the lives of so many dogs that have been abandoned, or taken off the streets, or as here in Vietnam, saved from the meat markets. These rescues work tirelessly for little to no financial gain, to try and help these dogs find loving homes. They do this job for no other reason than a deep love for dogs.  For this I commend them. The problem we have though is that many rescues believe every dog should be saved or adopted out, no matter its psychological or behavioural state. The belief is, by

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But My Dog Loves All Dogs! Really?

I come across way too many dog owners with hyper-aroused or overly anxious dogs out walking their dog and allowing it to socialise with other dogs (or people), then get mad and punish the dog when contact with the other dog goes bad! Emotion is a good predictor of behaviour, not unlike humans. Your emotional state will determine how you will react to any given situation, and how the other person will perceive and therefore respond to your actions. You know yourself, when and what situations to avoid dependent on your current emotional state. Sometimes though we choose to ignore our

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Oh, Just Ignore The Behaviour

I have lost count how many homes I have attended over the years (in the thousands), to find dogs totally distressed, and the dogs owner believing their dog is happy, and its current behaviour is cute. Also, therefore believing, its an indication their dog loves them so much, and missed them immensely whilst they were away from the home. They then actually encourage and continually reinforce this 'distressed' state their dog finds itself in believing the above to be true. In the majority of cases, ignoring a dogs unacceptable behaviour is not informing the dog that the current behaviour is in

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Are You A Good Guardian For Your Dog?

This blog post is a continuation of my previous post Humanising Dogs Is Resulting In So Many Emotional & Behavioural Issues In Our Dogs. I cannot stress enough. We need to respect dogs for what they are. We need to understand and acknowledge that they have natural instincts and drives provided to them by mother nature that need to be satisfied for them to live a well balanced and psychologically stable and healthy life. Dogs (just like humans) need and instinctively seek structure in their life. They need to know and understand their social groups rules and boundaries, because without consistent

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Humanising Dogs Is Resulting In So Many Emotional & Behavioural Issues In Our Dogs.

I find by far, the biggest obstacle confronting the family dog, and the major reason so many of them are not well balanced members of the family and suffer so many behavioural issues, is directly related to an unrealistic and overly emotional connection many owners have with their dog. Too many dog owners are allowing their emotions to override any sense of balanced reasoning, logic, and critical thinking, when it comes to their relationship with their dog. The majority of these are with the smaller breeds, however, definitely not limited too them. People are being flooded on social media, TV and

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Dominance Theory. What Is It?

I was asked a question by a live video consultation client yesterday. My client, whom has a new puppy, is currently doing live video and Zalo/WhatsApp support consultations with me to help guide her to raise her puppy correctly. This question, I believe, is very important for all dog owners to understand as there is so much misinformation about this subject. I therefore thought I would also post my response to my client here. What do you think of the dominance theory? That all depends on how one interprets "dominance theory". It is a fact, but so many misunderstand its true

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The Hammer & Screw Principle Of Dog Training

It's very easy to lure a dog with a high value food reward to condition particular behavioural responses. However, if you then need to carry a food pouch with you for the rest of your dogs life to have it respond for you, then you do not have a well trained disciplined dog. Eventually you will come across a reward your dog considers higher value, and this usually happens when you most need your dog to respond urgently and immediately. This is why we need a more balanced approach to our dogs training, whereby the dog understands that some commands or

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Are You Expecting Too Much From Your Dog?

So often dogs are expected to do jobs they are not even capable of doing.  Just because your dog is of a particular breed, doesn't mean your dog will naturally protect you, your family, or your property.Just because your dog displays aggression towards strangers, doesn't mean your dog is a protector. It usually means your dog is feeling insecure, unsure and distressed, and therefore feels the need to try and scare the apparent threat away to protect him or her self. Would you hire a security guard that was insecure and unsure? Please, if your dog is displaying aggression towards people,

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Your New Puppy (part 1)

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This article is to offer some advice to help guide new puppy owners with some important pointers to ensure they raise their puppy correctly, giving it the best start in life, to ensure a well behaved and well balanced future family companion. This is part 1 and there will be another 2 articles to follow. The next article will focus more on starting your puppy's training. The first 8 to 18 weeks is the most crucial developmental stage for your puppy. This is the period that your puppy is learning about the world around it and its environment.  Your puppy is

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Littermate Syndrome

Many new dog owners when introducing a new puppy into the home, tend to feel its better to get 2 puppies so they can keep each other company. However, the wisest suggestion is, don't get 2 puppies at the same time. Most new dog owners do this because they feel their new puppy will be happier if they have a brother or sister with them. However, this can lead to many behaviour and psychological issues that can affect your puppies for the rest of their life, if not carried out correctly. Possible issues when having 2 puppies The shy puppy can

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You Are Your Dogs Greatest Influence

YOU are your dogs greatest influence. Remember, professional dog trainers/behaviour specialists are not magicians. If you don't put the work into your own dog, then don't expect any advice or guidance offered by one is going to change your dogs behaviour permanently. Your dog trainer cannot "fix" your dog, like it was a broken mechanical possession such as a car, so you can just sit back and enjoy it. Much of society has turned into a "pay somebody else to do it for you". Pay a gardener to mow your lawns, pay a guy to wash your car, pay a cleaner to

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Muzzle Choice Is Deadly Important!

I see this way too often here in Vietnam. So many people walking their dogs with wrap-around muzzles on their dog. Your dog needs to be able to pant to pass air over its tongue to help it cool down. If you require that your dog wear a muzzle when out walking, please get a basket type muzzle that allows your dog to freely open its mouth to cool down and can easily drink whilst wearing it. Wrap-around muzzles restrict your dog’s ability to open its mouth enough to help cool down. Also, never place a muzzle on your dog without

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Dogs Do Get Breast Cancer Not Just Humans.

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More informative and important information from my friends at Animals Doctors. Breast cancer doesn't just affect humans. Dogs can also get mammary (breast) cancer. In fact it is even more common in dogs than in humans(!) and while female dogs are much more likely to be affected it can also occur, albeit rarely, in male dogs! A dog's mammary glands run from chest to groin on the underside of their body either side of the mid line. Each mammary gland has a nipple and each dog typically has 8, although this can vary.Tumours in the mammary glands can often be discovered

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Do You Punish Your Dog For Not Responding To A Command?

So often I come across ill-informed or misguided dog owners (and sadly even some dog trainers), that believe or feel that they should punish a dog for not responding to a command. Punishment will not teach your dog to do as its told, nor to even understand that it didn't do as it was told. Punishment (carried out correctly, which I will discuss in another post) will only inhibit a behaviour, not encourage a behaviour you desire from the dog. You cannot punish a dog for NOT doing something. A dog has no conceivable way of understanding why its being punished

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Are You Loving Your Dog Too Much?

Whats controlling and dictating your relationship with your dog, your own emotional needs, or your dogs overall psychological, behavioural and instinctive needs? When dogs have no defined consistent rules and boundaries, have no understanding of respecting personal and social space, and little to any impulse control, why wouldn't we expect to come across neurotic dogs in a state of continual hyper-arousal and emotional instability or distress? The major issue as to why so many dog owners are having issues maintaining a well balanced and emotionally stable dog, is that affection is handed out way too freely and excessively, with little to

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